Woking 3 Westfield 0
Specsavers Surrey Senior Cup First Round
14th December 2021
The Cards were looking to end a sequence of three consecutive defeats with this First Round Surrey Senior Cup match against their very near neighbours Westfield on an exceptionally mild evening for mid-December at a sparsely-populated Laithwaite Community Stadium.
The visitors, who play in the Isthmian League South Central Division, had a creditable home goalless draw against high-flying Uxbridge on Saturday and were doubtless looking forward to putting one over on their more illustrious opponents.
Woking rang the changes from their home defeat to Boreham Wood on Saturday with Craig Ross returning in goal and Joe McNerney in defence. Inih Effiong, Jamar Loza, Nathan Collier and Tarryn Allarakhia all started alongside Woking Academy player Jake Rumble who was making his senior debut. For Westfield, Woking loanee Sam Evans started the match but was later substituted.
The home side eventually prevailed to progress into round two, but they had a few scares before finally breaking the deadlock in the closing stages. Two further strikes put a gloss on the final score in a match where the Cards’ superior fitness finally overcame their opponents.
The match started slowly with both sides finding their feet on an excellent surface; the visitor’s lynchpin in midfield, Tayshan Hayden-Smith showing some nice touches in a good performance.
The Cards then fashioned two chances with Tommy Block looking to drive forward to make an impact. Following a Woking corner, the ball was cleared whereupon a foul by Tarryn Allarakhia caused the referee to produce a yellow card in the sixteenth minute.
After twenty minutes Block again tried his luck, but his deflected effort was saved by Vabad.
Four minutes later the Yellas had the best chance of the match to open the scoring. Hayden-Smith drove forward and played the ball to Davis who shot wide of Craig Ross in the Woking goal.
Tyreke Johnson was then warned by the man in the middle following a foul, but no card ensued.
Just after the half hour mark, Allarakhia then had an effort from around 30 yards, again with no end product. The visitors were clearly gaining confidence from the blank scoreline and limiting the home side to shots from distance and blocking crosses to avert any potential danger.
The Cards upped the ante and forced several corners in succession before they almost opened the scoring seven minutes before halftime when Inih Effiong's header somehow didn’t cross the line after bouncing down off the underside of the bar before being cleared by the Westfield defence.
The final five minutes of the half, with one minute added on, was noteworthy only for the first offside decision of the match. The officials had an excellent half keeping the action flowing and not being over-fussy, which is too often the case in other games that this reporter has seen of late.
Half-time: Woking 0 Westfield 0
Woking kicked off the second half and thought that they had taken the lead within two minutes of the restart, but Louis Britton was adjudged offside as he netted from a shot which Vabad had parried so the goal didn’t stand. Five minutes later the Yellas had a chance to score, but Ross made a good block to deny them the opener.
There then followed a good run from Effiong down the left before he cut inside the box, but his shot went agonisingly wide for another corner. Westfield then substituted Sam Evans with Afu Soyemi-Olade taking his place after 56 minutes. The Cards were enjoying a good spell of possession as the hour mark approached with the game still without a goal.
Kai Hamilton-Olise then came on for Ik Hill in the 63rd minute as the visitors tried to stem the flow.
Woking forced a corner which found the ever-reliable head of Joe McNerney who forced yet another save. The turning point of the half (and indeed the match) came in the 67th minute when Westfield had a gilt-edged chance to take the lead. A great cross from the left found the recently arrived Hamilton-Olise, who somehow managed to hit the ball wide of goal when he seemed certain to score. The home fans breathed a collective sigh of relief that the score was still level.
The Cards finally broke the deadlock with 17 minutes left to play. Loza’s driving run and shot forced a save from Vabad with Inih Effiong pouncing onto the rebound to shoot into the far corner of the net to give the home side the lead
Inih Effiong nets for the Cards
Woking then made their only substitution of the match three minutes later with Trevor Caborn replacing Louis Britton who received a good hand from the mightily relieved home crowd.
With four minutes remaining, the Cards made the game safe when Loza picked out McNerney at the back post who headed the ball across to Annesley who volleyed into the roof of the vacant goal.
One minute into added time, Effiong got his second to make it 3-0 to the Cards, tucking away the rebound of his own header, which was initially parried by Vabad.
The final score line slightly flattered the Cards as their opponents were never less than competitive and, had they taken their chance when the scores were level, the result could well have been different. Next up is an FA Trophy trip down to Somerset on Saturday to face Yeovil Town followed by the now traditional Boxing Day clash with Aldershot Town over the border in Hampshire.
13 Craig Ross ©, 5 Joe McNerney, 7 Jamar Loza, 9 Inih Effiong, 11 Tyreke Johnson, 12 Nathan Collier, 16 Louie Annesley, 17 Tarryn Allarakhia, 18 Louis Britton (33 Trevor Caborn 76’), 21 Tommy Block, 26 Jake Rumble
4 Tom Champion, 6 Moussa Diarra, 19 Tahvon Campbell, 31 Callum Backhurst (Gk)
Effiong 73’,90+1’, Annesley 86’
Tarryn Allarakhia 16’
1 Sami Vabad, 2 Kai Davis, 3 Joel Nakaiani-Brown, 4 Caleb Wright, 5 Luke Elliott ©, 6 Nidan Butler, 7 Callum Abraham-Barlow (12 Sheridan Campbell 85’), 8 Samir Baja, 9 Sam Evans (17 Afu Soyemi-Olade 56’) 10 Tayshan Hayden-Smith, 11 Ik Hill (15 Kai Hamilton-Olise 63’)
14 McKail McLoughan, 16 Rylan Myres
Sponsor’s Man of the Match: Louie Annesley
Thank you to our Match Sponsor, Arthurs Bridge Garage. You can check them here